Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Adopt-A-Block: Commune with Community

Name: Shaunte Hill
From: Rochester, New York
Grade: Junior
School: Rochester Institute of Technology
Votes: 0

Commune with Community

On Saturday mornings, my daughter and I walk to the Vacaville Storehouse where we
have a leaders meeting and welcome other volunteers to join us as we
participate in Adopt-A-Block. This community outreach program serves
over 19 blocks in the Fairfield, Vacaville, and Napa low-income
neighborhoods, distributing fresh produce and food. We load up
trucks with fresh produce including fruits and vegetables, and bread.
We make door-to-door deliveries, have block parties, and deliver
birthday cakes each month to kids of each block.

As a single mother, struggling to put food on the table is a challenge that I am
all too familiar with. The community that we “adopt” on
Saturdays is a not too distant reality for myself. My mother raised
both my sister and I and there were times when finding food was
difficult. Giving back is not to make ourselves feel good; it is so
that we remain grounded and understand that other people’s
realities in poverty and homelessness is not so distant from us.
Adopt-A-Block led me to feel passionate about those less fortunate
and I began doing missionary work in both Haiti and Uganda. After
traveling to these countries and doing evangelism, I realized even
more the importance of volunteering at home. As time goes on, we
become invested and our block becomes one big family. There becomes
no distinction between the volunteer and the community we serve.

My daughter will have opportunities that I didn’t have. But she will remain
grounded by serving others. We can’t expect to reach our full
potential without being grounded in humble beginnings. Some of the
most successful people will tell you the importance of humility.
What I can appreciate most is that in serving others, we make no
distinction. We are no better than those less off than ourselves. I
am thankful to commune with my community and that in some small way,
they understand that they are no different than us. They deserve to
be treated with respect, dignity, and love just like anyone else.
Our social and economic status does not define us, but building
character changes lives and imparts kindness in the world when we so
need it.

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